I have learned so much about what I did not absorb in my philosophy classes that I intend to write about logical fallacies in months to come. But at least for today we can agree that this will be the final logical fallacy entry. Our agreeing on this as the last entry is called peticio princpii or “begging the question.”
This is a rhetorical trick to get another person to concede a point giving the underlying assumption that what follows has been already accepted.
Remember the joke of a woman holding a rather large dog by the leash and a guy comes up and says “Does your dog bite?” and the woman says “No.” The guy goes to pet the dog and the dog bites him. The man says “I thought you said your dog doesn’t bite.” She responds, “That’s not my dog”
Somehow they both entered into an understanding that the dog on her leash was her dog. You both conceded that point. That’s known as begging the question; a common logical fallacy.
The most common logical fallacy seen regularly on my FaceBook is the hasty generalization. This is where a person takes one data point and does a sweeping generalization to make it seemk true as a trend.
For example a person says “All politicians are liars.” And she cites a lie by Hillary Clinton as proof. I use this example because I actually believe this statement to be true. But in reality there must be a politician who is not a liar. (statistics suggest this) But the person making this statement about the lies of Hillary Clinton is engaging in another logical fallacy. This person is actually saying that because all politicians are liars, then elect my liar because she lies better, because she is a woman, because I like her….
And finally argumentum ad ignoratiam the appeal to ignorance. This occurs when someone uses both sides of the syllogism to support their claim. No one has scientifically proven the existence of God so it is possibly true. At the same time using the same logic that since no one has proven the existence of God, He does not exist. Both are fallacious as they each use the same argument to prove their point.
There are simple ways to combat these fallacies. But my purpose is not to be right but to seek the truth. So I use these techniques of logical fallacies to keep me on track by not following an illogical path.
In my attempt to explain logical fallacies I have opened up an avenue for me to see things in a check list form. I have found something to keep me balanced in the face of persuasive rhetoric from people I like. We tend to like people who think like us. I just like people and accept the way they think. I have found people who have the ability to press my buttons and it is on these occasions that I learn the most about myself.